A Brief History of Studio Ghibli

From the early days to Oscar glory.

There’s no question that Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki is one of the greatest his artform has ever known. For nearly half a century he’s created some of the richest, lushest, most empowering and impactful animated films the world has ever known – Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, The Wind Rises – so much so that when Disney, that other global animation force, realized they couldn’t beat him, they joined him, acquiring his production house Studio Ghibli.

Miyazaki retired a few years ago, but fortunately for his legion of fans it was a short-lived retreat from the limelight. Recently the director announced he’ll be back for the film Boro the Caterpillar, a story he’s been toying with making for more than 20 years and that he already made a short, 15-minute film about – Mizugumo Monmon – back in 2006. The story revolves around a diving bell spider who falls in love with a reluctant water strider; I don’t know about you, but that sounds perfectly Miyazakian to me.

To celebrate this ceremonious return to the form, Blake Faucette and Matthew Williams over at the Distractotron Channel on YouTube have put together this brief history of Studio Ghibli from its early days of striving to gain recognition, right up to the present and its top-grossing, Oscar-winning cadre of films. You know the man, you know the films, but do you know how it all started? In seven minutes you will. Prepare yourselves for the story of one of the greatest and well-deserved rises to power in animation – and filmmaking – history.

More to Read: